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Graduate school decision, I need help!

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  1. Feb 1, 2012 #1
    I am interested in nuclear theory, and I was accepted to both Duke and Yale. I really like the research at Duke, and my best friend was admitted to the Duke law program. I also know that Yale has an excellent nuclear physics program and is generally regarded as the better institution. Am I crazy to pass up the offer at Yale? Would it make a large difference for my career?

    I would be extremely happy living with my close friend in Durham, but I want to make sure that it is a sound choice career wise. I suspect that there is negligible difference between the graduate coursework at the two universities, and the only meaningful difference would be the "brand name" and the available researchers. Does anyone have any advice/suggestions? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2
    I don't think "brand name" is an issue of any consequence, although the available researchers can be important. It looks like the nuclear theorists at each of those schools work in very different fields, so depending on what you mean by being "interested in nuclear theory", that could be an issue.

    Overall, though, it's certainly important to be somewhere where you'll be happy living for 5-6 years (or more). So if you think living near your friend will be more important to your happiness than whether you end up working on, e.g., nuclear many body theory versus heavy-ion collisions, I don't see any problem going with Duke.

    Perhaps someone else here has better knowledge of which department has better nuclear theory researchers, but they both appear to have highly-ranked nuclear physics programs in general:
    http://grad-schools.usnews.rankings.../top-science-schools/nuclear-science-rankings
     
  4. Feb 1, 2012 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Have you looked at the Yale nuclear theory faculty? Have you looked at the Duke nuclear theory faculty? There is no comparison.
     
  5. Feb 2, 2012 #4
    I admit that I didn't really investigate the individual researchers before I responded to the OP, but that's quite a statement. Can you elaborate on what is supposed to be so obvious?

    http://inspirehep.net/search?ln=en&...&action_search=Search&sf=&so=d&rm=&rg=25&sc=0

    http://inspirehep.net/search?ln=en&...&action_search=Search&sf=&so=d&rm=&rg=25&sc=0

    http://inspirehep.net/search?ln=en&...&action_search=Search&sf=&so=d&rm=&rg=25&sc=0

    http://inspirehep.net/search?p=author:"muller, berndt" AND collection:citeable&rm=citation

    http://inspirehep.net/search?ln=en&...&action_search=Search&sf=&so=d&rm=&rg=25&sc=0
     
  6. Feb 2, 2012 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Take a look at what they have done in the last 10 to 15 years. It's almost but not quite true that the member of Duke's faculty with the fewest cites is beating out the entire Yale department.

    Rankings are not very helpful. The fact that Yale has a great English department doesn't mean that it has a great physics department, and even great physics departments are not necessarily great in all things.
     
  7. Feb 2, 2012 #6
    Good point. Upon closer look, the people at Yale don't seem to be very active lately.


    I agree that rankings in general should be taken with a grain of salt, but that ranking is specifically for graduate programs in nuclear physics. As far as rankings go, that's the most relevant one for the OP that could possibly exist, except for the fact that it presumably combines theoretical and experimental research.
     
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